Vitamin C works really hard for our bodies, so it’s one nutrient you don’t want to skimp on.
“Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is critical for many important body functions,” says dietitian Sylvia Klinger, R.D., owner of Hispanic Food Communications. “One of the most important is the absorption of iron.” And that’s just the beginning. Vitamin C also supports collagen production, plays a role in the growth, development, and repair of body tissues, helps the immune system function properly, and promotes wound healing.
According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, women need 75 milligrams of vitamin C per day, while men need 90. That said, you can safely consume up to 2,000 milligrams per day.
Upping your intake is pretty easy, too, considering oranges are far from the only food loaded with it. Here are nine snack ideas that are guaranteed to give you a vitamin C boost.
1. Kiwi Strawberry Fruit Salsa
Total vitamin C: 122 milligrams
You can make this yummy fruit salsa yourself in minutes. Just mix four cups of sliced strawberries, two large cut-up kiwis, and the juice from half a lime. (That makes four servings.)
“This three-ingredient fruit salsa is versatile! Eat it on its own, with cinnamon sugar pita chips, or on top of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese,” says dietitian Roxana Ehsani, R.D., C.S.S.D., L.D.N. “Both strawberries and kiwis contain higher amounts of vitamin C than oranges. Next time you feel the sniffles coming on, instead of turning to your go-to glass of orange juice, whip up this salsa!”
2. Bell Pepper And Hummus
Total vitamin C: 341 milligrams
This snack is super simple: just one large sweet yellow pepper (cut into strips) and two tablespoons of hummus.
“When I want to crunch on something, I always gravitate towards bell peppers. I love these sweet peppers as is, but I enjoy them more because they provide a significant amount of vitamin C!” says Klinger. “You can make this snack even more powerful if you add an extra cup of sweet red bell pepper, which provides an extra 190 milligrams of vitamin C, along with some beautiful color.”
3. Greek Yogurt with Pineapple
Total vitamin C: 79 milligrams
Pairing pineapple with Greek yogurt makes for a high-protein, high-fiber snack that’s guaranteed to keep you satisfied and full until your next meal.
“Pairing a high-fiber food like a fruit or veggie with a source of protein keeps your blood sugar stable and keeps you full for longer, thanks to proteins’ satiating properties,” says Ehsani. “Pineapple also contains bromelain, which is a digestive enzyme that helps your gut break down food and can reduce bloating, while yogurt contains live and active cultures, which helps keep your digestive system healthy. Pairing pineapple and Greek yogurt together make for a nutrient-rich snack high in vitamin C, fiber, protein and is gut-friendly!”
4. Virgin Bloody Mary
Total vitamin C: 137 milligrams
Okay, this snack is more of a fun drink, but it’s packed with vitamin C. “Although not everyone is a fan of tomato juice, it is good to know that it can help you reach your vitamin C recommendations with one glass,” says Klinger. “Add more flavor and Vitamin C with the lime juice!”
To make it, combine the following ingredients:
- 1 (48 oz) bottle of low-sodium tomato juice
- 1 to 2 tsp horseradish sauce
- 2 tsp chopped shallots
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 to 1 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 1 to 2 tsp hot sauce
- juice of 2 fresh limes
- 2 to 3 celery stalks with leaves (for garnish)
5. Mango Guacamole
Total vitamin C: 108 milligrams
Next time you decide to whip up some guacamole, throw some tomatoes and mango into the bowl. For a chunky, sweet take on the classic dip, combine a cup each of mango, tomato, and avocado.
“Guacamole on its own is a nutrient-rich dip loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats,” says Ehsani. When you add tomatoes and mango, you boost the vitamin C.” Enjoy with veggies and/or tortilla chips.
6. Pomelo With Brown Sugar
Total vitamin C: 116 milligrams
Like grapefruit? Try a pomelo, which is a similar citrus fruit. To balance out the tartness sprinkle on a little brown sugar and prepare to be amazed.
“I like to recommend non-traditional fruits and veggies that are nutrient-dense, and pomelo is one of those fruits,” says Klinger. “One delicious pomelo can provide all the vitamin C recommended for a day.”
7. Broccoli and Homemade Ranch Dip
Total vitamin C: 80 milligrams
This nutrient-packed snack is loaded with healthy fats, protein, fiber, and plenty of vitamin C to meet your daily needs.
“Eating broccoli raw or lightly steamed is the best way to preserve its vitamin C,” Ehsani says. “The vitamin C content is reduced after cooking it for too long or at too-high heats.”
To make your own ranch dip, simply mix together plain Greek yogurt and a ranch seasoning packet. Unlike store-bought dressings, this DIY version is high in protein and offers probiotics, Ehsani says.
8. Green Smoothie
Total vitamin C: 80 milligrams
This smoothie combines both fruit and veggies for a vitamin C kick. In a blender, mix together two cups of orange juice, a cup of strawberries, a frozen banana, a cup of raw kale, and two tablespoons of chia seeds. (This makes two servings.)
“An easy way to get in your veggies and greens like kale or spinach is by throwing them into a smoothie. Picky eaters won’t even taste them!” says Ehsani. “Kale packs twice as much vitamin C than spinach, it also contains vitamin A and vitamin K. Eating kale raw preserves its vitamin C content while cooking it causes a lot of its C content to be lost.